A GP who cited Angelina Jolie and Jade Goody to instil fear in his patients about their health has been found guilty of sexually assaulting 23 women.
Manish Shah preyed on cancer concerns to carry out invasive intimate examinations for his own sexual gratification, the Old Bailey heard.
He convinced his victims to have unnecessary checks between May 2009 and June 2013.
He was convicted of 25 counts of sexual assault and assault by penetration.
Jurors acquitted him of five other charges.
They were told afterwards he had already been found guilty of similar allegations relating to 17 other women, bringing the total number of victims to 23.
He will be sentenced for all the offences on 7 February.
The trial heard Shah mentioned a news story to one patient about Hollywood star Jolie having a preventative mastectomy, before asking if she would like him to examine her breasts.
In another instance involving a different complainant, he mentioned TV personality Goody – who died of cervical cancer – and advised an examination was in her best interests, it was claimed.
Prosecutor Kate Bex QC told the trial: “He took advantage of his position to persuade women to have invasive vaginal examinations, breast examinations and rectal examinations when there was absolutely no medical need for them to be conducted.”
A 12-year-old boy killed in a hit-and-run outside a school has been named locally as Harley Watson.
He was struck near Debden Park High School in Loughton, Essex, at about 15:20 GMT on Monday.
A 51-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of his murder, as well as the attempted murder of four other teenagers and a 23-year-old woman who were hurt in the crash.
One of the victims was described by his mother as “battered and bruised”.
It is understood all the injured children – two 15-year-old boys, a 13-year-old boy, and a girl, 16 – are pupils at the school.
Debden Park’s head teacher Helen Gascoyne, said: “Our thoughts are with the family and all those affected.
“The school will be open [on Tuesday] with a number of counsellors on hand to support our community.”
Christian Cavanagh, executive head teacher, described the Harley’s death as “a young life so tragically lost”.
He said: “This young man had made his mark on the school and was liked and loved by staff and students.
“We will consult with the family and our school community to decide how best to commemorate his life.”
‘I’ve been hit by a car’
Donna Mills, the mother of Alfie Barnes who was one of the 15-year-olds struck by the car, said he was “still in shock… battered and bruised”.
“He remembers the car coming towards him, he remembers getting hit, but it is a bit of a blur. He hit his head and I think he blacked out for a bit,” she said.
“Alfie rang me and said ‘mum I have been hit by a car’, so I shot down there as fast as I could. It was horrendous.
“It was… horrible to see, kids laying on the floor, just terrible.”
Essex Police said officers are looking for a silver Ford Ka that was “likely to have damage to [its] front”.
Earlier, the force took the step of naming Terry Glover, 51, as someone they wanted to speak to in connection with the crash.
A senior police officer convicted of possessing a child abuse video on her phone has been told she faces “immense” career consequences.
A court heard Novlett Robyn Williams failed to report her sister for sending the “disturbing” clip last year.
While jurors at the Old Bailey accepted Williams did not view the material, they rejected her claim she was unaware of its presence on her phone.
She was ordered to carry out 200 hours’ community service.
Williams had denied the charge, saying she “zoned out” when she received the video.
The jury was told she was one of 17 people to receive the 54-second clip via WhatsApp, and prosecutors had argued there was no way she could have missed its arrival in her inbox.
They said a response sent to her older sister Jennifer Hodge, saying “please call”, was evidence that she wanted to discuss the content.
Judge Richard Marks QC, sentencing, told the Old Bailey her “grave error of judgement” was likely to have “immense” career consequences.
The court heard Williams, who was commended for her work after the Grenfell Tower disaster, had an exemplary disciplinary record, was highly regarded for her work and was awarded the Queen’s Policing Medal for distinguished service in 2003.
Judge Marks told her it was “completely tragic you found yourself in the position you now do” considering her “stellar career in the police force over 30 years”.
She was cleared of a charge of corrupt or improper exercise of police powers in failing to report the distribution of an image.
As the prosecuting barrister, Richard Wright QC, noted, this is a “sad” case for all those involved, particularly for Robyn Williams who could well lose the job she cherishes.
She was the only one to be prosecuted of the 17 people who received the child abuse video.
Two individuals reported it, but no action was taken against the other 14, raising concerns among her supporters that she’s been unfairly targeted.
Did it have to end up in a trial at the Old Bailey? Or could the Superintendent have been dealt with through internal misconduct procedures, given her 36 years’ distinguished service?
There is also a wider question for all of us about our legal responsibilities when we’re sent material on social media that we haven’t asked for.
This case has demonstrated the risks of not reporting and deleting footage that contains illegal content.
Williams’ sister Jennifer Hodge, 56, of Brent, was ordered to carry out 100 hours of community service having been found guilty of distributing an indecent image of a child.
The social worker had denied sending the video, which she received from her partner and allegedly depicted a young girl performing a sex act on a man.
Her barrister Andrea Brown also told the court the conviction had “destroyed her relationship” with her police officer sister, who is her only immediate family member.
Hodge’s partner Dido Massivi, 61, was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment suspended for two years as well as 200 hours of community service.
The bus driver had denied two counts of distributing indecent photos and one count of possessing an extreme pornographic image portraying a person having sex with a horse.
Prosecutors said there was no suggestion the defendants derived any sexual gratification from the images but all three will be placed on the sex offenders’ register – Hodge and Williams for five years, and Massivi for 10.
Both Hodge and Massivi were also sacked from their jobs following their arrest, the court heard.
Scotland Yard said Williams remains on restricted duties but that would be “reviewed now criminal matters are complete”.
A man accused of rape was caught on camera at a hotel just before one of his alleged victims smashed him over the head and escaped, a court heard.
Joseph McCann went into the Phoenix Lodge Hotel in Watford on 25 April, leaving two women in a car outside, the Old Bailey was told.
He was allegedly captured on CCTV entering the hotel wearing a tracksuit and a baseball cap.
Mr McCann, 34, from Harrow, denies 37 offences against 11 victims.
After going into the hotel, he held the front door open and glanced repeatedly outside while rapping on the window of the reception desk to speak to staff, the court was told.
He then told his alleged captives to get out of the car and smile as he put his arms around them.
Instead, one of them, a 25-year-old woman, grabbed a bottle of vodka and hit him over the head with it before running for help, jurors heard.
The trial continues.
A Primark security guard has been found guilty of rape after he sexually exploited teenage girls he accused of shoplifting.
Zia Uddin, 27, assaulted four 15-year-old girls while working in the Kingston store in 2017.
He threatened the teenagers with calling the police and their parents if they did not perform sexual acts on him in the control room of the store.
Uddin was also found guilty of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
Kingston Crown Court heard how his colleagues had noticed his strange behaviour, which included making requests to delete CCTV, and not properly completing paperwork on shoplifting.
He was also known to keep condoms in the control room.
Once detained, some victims offered to pay for the items they had stolen, suggested they could work in the store to make amends, or even never enter the shop again.
However, once alone in the back office, Uddin made clear he was only interested in sexual acts in exchange for letting them go.
The court heard one girl only did as he asked because “there was no other choice” and it was the only way out of the situation.
Graham Partridge, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said Uddin “preyed on young girls in a vulnerable situation”.
“He abused his authority by telling them to perform sexual acts for him on the promise they would then be released without their parents or the police being informed about what they had done.
“Having worked in security, Uddin was also well aware of the CCTV camera ‘blind spots’ and took advantage of these in order to carry out his offending.”
He added that Uddin claimed all the victims were liars and refused to take responsibility for his actions.
He will be sentenced next Tuesday.
A spokeswoman for Primark said: “This has been a horrendous ordeal for the victims and their families and we are truly sorry for what they have suffered. Our thoughts are very much with them.
“The nature of these offences is shocking and distressing.
“Zia Uddin abused the trust that was placed in him by his employer, Brooknight Security, and by us, by taking advantage of his victims, who were young and vulnerable.”
On Saturday afternoon, the hot water went off in Alex Milsom’s shared house in west London. Discussing the problem with his housemates on WhatsApp, one person replied: “It’s because there’s a cage on the thermostat.”
“I said I would put the water back on, but obviously I couldn’t get past the new lock box,” Alex said..
His landlady had visited the property to install a clear thermostat cover over the Google Nest thermostat – which can control heating and hot water.
“We have no idea what the temperature is,” he said. “The Nest screen only lights up when you stand up close to it, but the box has stopped that from working and we can’t see the number.”
Alex, 21, has been living with six or seven others in a semi-detached house in Ealing since August. Rented from a private landlady, he pays £700 a month, and the landlady covers his utility bills.
In a multi-occupancy dwelling like Alex’s, the landlord is permitted to control the heating, with no rules against boxing-in the thermostat, experts say. The same is true of a standard rental property with less than three tenants, if the landlord pays the bills.
But, until now, Alex and his housemates have had control over the temperature of their home and the hot water via the thermostat in the communal kitchen.
“It’s just quite funny,” he adds.
“On Sunday night I woke up in a sweat because the heating was on, but the next morning I had to shower at work because there was no hot water,” he says. The water has since returned.
Alex shared his story on Twitter on Saturday, which went viral and prompted queries over the legality of the move.
So can a landlord box off a thermostat?
David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association, says there are no rules around boxing off thermostats.
But adds: “It is a matter of good tenancy management and we encourage landlords to speak first with tenants before taking such action.
“In shared homes there can often be disputes between tenants who want the thermostat set at different temperatures.”
However, the issue is not clear cut.
A tenant has a right to heating and hot water, says Daniel Fitzpatrick, a partner at Hodge Jones & Allen solicitors.
But whether a landlord can box off a thermostat depends on the terms of the tenancy agreement.
“If the tenant is just paying a basic agreement where bills are not included, that could be why the landlord installed the fitting – usually thermostats can be covered,” he says.
“Should that not be the case, then there could be various actions against the landlord.
“It’s a basic right to be able to turn on heating and hot water, and it would be a breach of health and safety if the tenant could not.”
Housing experts from Citizens Advice say the legality of a landlord-controlled thermostat is likely to rely on whether it results in hazards – excess cold or possibly extreme heat.
According to the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), which governs housing conditions, heating can be centrally controlled by the landlord in a house in multiple occupation.
But the guidance adds that if this causes “unreasonable extremes in temperature” then this may represent a hazard – over which the local authority can take action against the landlord.
Risks of adverse health effects arise when indoor temperature drops below 19C, with serious health risks occurring below 16C, it says.
What can a tenant do if they are still unhappy?
Under the new Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, all residential tenancies after 20 March 2019 are required to be free of hazards.
If a tenant feels this is not the case they could try making a claim against the landlord.
But Citizens Advice says it is better to try to “negotiate amicably” if at all possible – “due to the limited security of tenure which private tenants tend to have” – and it warns of the risk of an escalating row.
“The tenants might consider trying to take control of the heating themselves by using electric heaters.
“There is a risk, however, that the landlord may respond negatively to a huge electricity bill, and perhaps seek to serve a section 21 notice (no fault eviction notice) to terminate the tenancy at the end of the fixed term, or seek to alter the rent or other tenancy terms as a condition of any renewal.”
The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has been condemned for “serious shortcomings” and systemic failures in its response to the Grenfell Tower fire, in a report after the first phase of an inquiry.
Fewer people would have died in the 2017 fire if the LFB had taken certain actions earlier, the report by inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick said.
The head of the Fire Brigades Union said the inquiry was “back to front”.
The BBC has seen sections of the report ahead of Wednesday’s publication.
The document follows the first phase of the inquiry, which looked at what happened on the night that 72 people died in the tower block fire on 14 June 2017.
The second phase will focus on wider circumstances of the fire, including the design of the building.
General secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, Matt Wrack, said: “The truth is that the fire spread the way it did because it was wrapped in flammable cladding. The firefighters turned up after that had happened, after the building had already been turned, in reality, into a death trap.
“Firefighters’ actions on the night, which were remarkable in the circumstances, are now being scrutinised. Nobody is trying to avoid scrutiny, but we think that the ordering of the inquiry is completely back to front.”
The council, the tower’s tenant management organisation, the police and the fire service were all questioned during the inquiry’s first phase.
The inquiry has criticised the Daily Telegraph, which first published leaked details of the report, and other media which followed suit. A spokeswoman said publication had deprived “those most affected by the fire – the bereaved, survivors and residents – of the opportunity to read the report at their own pace”.
Sir Martin’s report praised the courage of firefighters on the night.
But it found many “institutional” failures that meant the LFB’s planning and preparation for the incident was “gravely inadequate”.
For example, Sir Martin said control room staff who fielded 999 calls “undoubtedly saved lives” but “a close examination” of operations revealed “shortcomings in practice, policy and training”.
He said staff that night were in an “invidious” position when they were outnumbered by 999 calls.
“Supervisors were under the most enormous pressure, but the LFB had not provided its senior control room staff with appropriate training on how to manage a large-scale incident with a large number of FSG [Fire Survival Guidance] calls,” he said.
“Mistakes made in responding to the Lakanal House fire were repeated,” he added – referring to a fire in Camberwell, south London, in 2009, which killed three women and three children.
By Lucy Manning, special correspondent
This report could not be more critical of the London Fire Brigade.
The Grenfell families wanted this level of criticism, especially those whose relatives died when they were told for nearly two hours to stay put in the building as it was covered in flames.
But there is also some frustration that this first part of the inquiry wasn’t about those who made the cladding and oversaw the refurbishment of Grenfell.
That will only happen in the second phase of the inquiry next year and then they’ve got even longer to wait for the police investigation to finish.
So they are seeing some blame apportioned and they hope they will eventually see justice but the Grenfell survivors will always suffer the loss and grief and ask the question how did 72 people die in what was supposed to be the safety of their homes?
Sir Martin also criticised the LFB for following a “stay put” strategy, where firefighters and 999 operators told residents to stay in their flats for nearly two hours after the blaze broke out.
The strategy was rescinded at 02:47 BST, the report said. Sir Martin wrote: “That decision could and should have been made between 01:30 and 01:50 and would be likely to have resulted in fewer fatalities.”
Firefighters who attended the fire did not have training on how best to combat a cladding fire, the report added.
Four members of the first crews to have fought the blaze had 52 years of combined experience. However, they had not received any training on the risks posed by exterior cladding or the techniques to be deployed in fighting fires involving cladding, the report found.
Sir Martin said the “principal” reason the fire spread so quickly “up, down and around the building was the presence of the aluminium composite material (ACM) rainscreen panels with polyethylene cores, which acted as a source of fuel”.
The report also said evidence given by the LFB’s commissioner, Dany Cotton, suggested lessons from the fire might be missed.
Sir Martin wrote: “Quite apart from its remarkable insensitivity to the families of the deceased and to those who escaped from their burning homes with their lives, the Commissioner’s evidence that she would not change anything about the response of the LFB on the night, even with the benefit of hindsight, only serves to demonstrate that the LFB is an institution at risk of not learning the lessons of the Grenfell Tower fire.”
A spokesperson for the LFB said it would be “inappropriate” to comment on the report’s findings before they were officially released on Wednesday.
Speaking on Monday, Sir Martin said the report was long and detailed.
He stressed that readers of the report “should understand as clearly as possible the terrifying conditions faced by those who were in the building, at the time”.
The cause of the fire was found by the report to be “an electrical fault in the large fridge freezer in the kitchen” in a fourth-floor flat.
“It occurred without any fault on the part of the tenant… and I am pleased to clear him of any blame, given that some people have unfairly accused him of having some responsibility for what happened,” Sir Martin said.
- Additional reporting by Vinnie O’Dowd.
About 15,000 homes near the River Thames could be protected from flooding by 2027 after a flood defence scheme was given a £270m funding boost.
The scheme will protect homes and businesses between Datchet, Berkshire, through Surrey to Teddington.
The Environment Agency said it could now afford to build the defences thanks to funding from Surrey County Council.
In 2014, about 2,000 people were flooded out of their homes in Chertsey, Egham, Sunbury, Staines and Weybridge.
Central government, local authorities and other partners including Thames Water will all contribute to the scheme.
Dave Bedlington, from the Environment Agency, said the new funding from Surrey County Council meant the scheme could now be shown to be affordable.
If the defences were not built, flooding such as that seen in 2014 would become more frequent, according to Mr Bedlington.
“If everything goes with a fair wind we’d being submitting our planning application in two years’ time. Because of the scale, that’s likely to take a two-year inquiry,” he said.
If given the go-ahead, construction could start in 2023 and it could be operational in 2027, he added.
The Environment Agency said three new channels alongside the River Thames would reduce the flood risk at Datchet, Wraysbury, Egham, Staines, Chertsey, Shepperton, Weybridge, Sunbury, Moseley, Thames Ditton, Kingston and Teddington, affecting 15,000 homes and 2,400 businesses.
The plans also include 260 acres (106 hectares) of new public open space and the creation of 615 acres (250 hectares) of new wildlife habitat, a spokesman said.
Tim Oliver, leader of Surrey County Council, said: “The floods in 2014 were devastating and ever since then it’s been clear we need to do all we can to make sure our residents and their properties are protected from such risks in the future.”
All-rounder George Scott has signed a three-year deal with Gloucestershire after declining the offer of a new contract at Middlesex.
The 23-year-old right-hander and medium pacer leaves Lord’s after four seasons.
His 43 appearances in all formats saw him score 692 runs and take six wickets following his debut in July 2015.
“I’m very excited, I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for me cricket-wise,” Scott said. “I’m absolutely delighted to be joining.”
Gloucestershire won promotion to Division One of the County Championship this summer and will play in the top flight for the first time since 2005 next season.
People have been warned to avoid an area in north London after a burst pipe has flooded the road.
Twelve fire engines and around 80 firefighters are now at the scene of the flooding in Queen’s Road, Finsbury Park.
There is low water pressure and no water in N1, N4, N5, N7 and N19, as a result and a number of schools have closed.
Thames Water said specialist engineers were investigating the problem, and “they will be doing everything they can to get things up and running as quickly as possible.”